The private sector could play a more prominent role in investments in the water sector, Water and Environmental Affairs policy acting deputy director general Mbangiseni Nepfumbada said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a Water Investment World conference, Nepfumbada also said that South Africa had to improve the quality of its water supply and reduce unlawful use and water loss.
He stated that not enough was being done to highlight the importance of water, which should be seen as a catalyst for development.
International Finance Corporation (IFC) water and sanitation specialist Patrick Mullen said that the gap between water supply and demand would increase by 40% in the next 20 years.
“Only private finance would close the gap with an investment of about $50-billion a year, as well as treating water, like oil, as a commercial resource,” said Mullen.
He cited political risks, returns in term of tariffs, which limits bankable deals and the regulatory environment as impeding investments in the water sector.
Mullen stated that the IFC had observed an increase in private sector investment in emerging markets.
“We have identified opportunities in Africa as a focus area and at the moment, water has been a profitable sector in the corporation and investments have yielded 35% returns,” he said.By: Dennis Ndaba -Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter